| Naples: Life, Death & Miracles
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main index © Jeff Matthews entry Feb 2005
Un uomo in una donna, anzi uno dio,in which the Renaissance master says that Vittoria is not only as good as a man, but as good even as a god. Heady praise, indeed, coming from the man. (Michelangelo's sketch of her is shown here, left.)
Also along the way, she married Ferrante Francesco d'Avalos (painting, right) in 1509, Marquis of Pescara, a Neapolitan nobleman of Spanish origin, who was one of the chief generals of Emperor Charles V. Vittoria and Ferrante were married in the fine Aragonese castle on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples and lived there for a number of years.
Ferrante was one of Charles V's generals at the great battle of Pavia in 1525, the climax of decades of war between France and the Holy Roman Empire for control of the Italian peninsula. The battle proved to be the last stand for knights in shining armor, as the French knights were annihilated by the new harquebus design of hand-held firearm used by Imperial forces. During the battle 3000 harquebusiers killed over 8000 French armored cavalrymen.
Ferrante was then involved in an anti-imperial conspiracy that might have wrested the Spanish vicerealm of Naples away from Spain and put himself on the throne of Naples with Vittoria as his queen. We'll never know, since (1) he died from the wounds incurred at Pavia, and (2) he is said to have given up the idea because his Vittoria told him that she would rather be the wife of an upright general than the consort of a king who had backstabbed his way to the throne.
Vivo su questo scoglio orrido e solo,
quasi dolente augel che 'l verde ramo
e l'acqua pura abborre; e a quelli ch'amo
nel mondo ed a me stessa ancor m'involo,
perchè espedito al sol che adoro e colo
vada il pensiero. E sebben quanto bramo
l'ali non spiega, pur quando io 'l richiamo
volge dall'altre strade a questa il volo.
live upon this fearful, lonely rock, like a
sorrowing bird that shuns green branch and clear
water; and I take myself away from those I love
in this world and from my very self, so that my
thoughts may go speedily to him, the sun I adore
and worship. And although they do not try their
wings as much as I wish, yet when I call them
back, they turn their flight from other paths to